Tag Archives: humour

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech – a review

I was sent this book as a surprise by the publisher. I have to confess to not really looking closely at it as I assumed it wasn’t really for me, the book not being a traditional murder mystery. However having recently seen some excellent reviews I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did.
Sometimes as soon as you read the first page of a novel you can tell by the style of writing that it is going to be something special. This was definitely one of those books. Maria in the Moon is the story of Catherine. She is living with her friend Fern after her house was one of many flooded during the storms in 2007. She volunteers at the local flood crisis line. Until the age of 9 Catherine was always called by her full name, Catherine-Maria, however at some point during her ninth year people stopped using the Maria. She has no recollection of why or what else happened that year. However gradually she starts to remember things as memories of the past start to resurface.

This was a superb read that I genuinely stayed up stupidly late reading as I didn’t want to stop. It is utterly compelling and incredibly heartbreaking. Catherine is an interesting character. I flitted between feeling incredibly sorry for her and wanting her to just speak up for herself more. One of the elements I really liked about this book was that despite it being very disturbing there are also elements of humour that really bring the novel to life. The descriptions of the flooding are really heartbreaking, skips in the roads and people being displaced are quite upsetting especially when you know this actually happened. Yet this is what makes this book so great, it really is a superb read.

This is the first book I’ve read by Louise although I think it is actually her third novel and it definitely makes me want to read her others. Maria in the Moon is a heartrending book that will stay with you long after the finish, I thoroughly recommend it. 

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Addicted to death by Matthew Redford – a review

I was sent a copy of Addicted to Death to review a while ago so it’s been sat on my kindle unread. On a train recently I’d just finished a book and this was at the top of the unread books list so I clicked on it without really remembering what it was about. I had a vague recollection it was about a food related crime.
The book starts as any good crime book does with a murder. The savage beating of two eggs – yes, you read that right. Two eggs. The story tells of a world where Homo-sapiens live side by side with Food-sapiens. These are food items created by GM processes that now walk and talk. Think the Garden Gang meets adult story time.
DI Wortel (a carrot) is in charge of investigating the murder, which he has to do alongside other food related crimes including death threats that have been received by celebrity chefs, and the murder of Professor Perry Partridge (a pear) He is assisted by new recruits Oranges and Lemons (who are obsessed with owing someone five farthings)
If I’m honest had I realised this book included talking fruit and vegetables I would probably have given it a miss. However I’m very glad I didn’t, this was bizarre but excellent. I can honestly say that some bits were hilarious. There was one paragraph involving a rabbit, a bunch of grapes and some origami that actually made me laugh out loud (thereby ensuring the empty train seat next to me remained that way for the rest of the journey)
The story itself was good and kept you interested. The ending was certainly a surprise that I didn’t see coming. Yet the real appeal of this book was the humour. Surely you have to love a story that includes references to TV duo Ant and Duck (one a man, one a duck who always stands on the right so people don’t get confused) and celebrity footballer Wayne Rooster who plays for Breadenham Hotspuds.
It was a testament to the writing of the fruit and veg characters (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write on a crime blog!) that you almost forget they are not people. As much as it’s possible to care about a cookie you really start to worry about them. The different personalities of the chefs in the story worked well. Clearly based on real life TV celebrities their portrayal is very funny and give an additional element of humour to the whole novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and haven’t laughed so much at a book for ages. I think this was Matthew Redford’s debut novel and I hope it leads to more. If you fancy a light hearted crime ‘caper’ and were a Garden Gang fan as a child then this is definitely for you.

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